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Erdogan replaces justice minister, head of statistics office

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has replaced both the country's justice minister and the head of its statistics institute, according to the Official Gazette on Saturday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has replaced both the country’s justice minister and the head of its statistics institute, according to the Official Gazette on Saturday.

Abdulhamit Gul, who had served as Turkish justice minister since 2017, tweeted that he had resigned on Saturday, after which Erdogan named Bekir Bozdag, a member of his ruling party, as the new justice minister.

Bozdag, who served as justice minister between 2013 and 2017, thanked Erdogan on Twitter for “entrusting me with the post of justice minister,” adding: “May God help us.”

Rights groups have been criticizing Turkey over its deteriorating judicial independence amid what they describe as politically-motivated court rulings and a widespread crackdown on dissent.

Erdogan has also sacked Sait Erdal Dincer as the head of the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) less than a year after his appointment, the Official Gazette announced on Saturday.

Erhan Cetinkaya was named the new TurkStat head, the Official Gazette said.

Opposition parties have accused TurkStat of manipulating inflation data and misleading the public in the midst of severe economic instability in Turkey, though the institute denies all such allegations.

Officially, Turkey’s annual inflation rate for 2021 was 36 per cent, its highest in nearly 20 years of Erdogan’s rule.

Independent research groups have estimated the real figure to be as high as 82 per cent, however.

Turkey is already struggling to contain a currency crisis with inflation expected to have risen even further in January.

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